What is BPA?  It stands for Bisphenol A and it is a man made or synthetic compound used in the manufacture of various plastics.

In chemical terms, BPA is one of the bisphenols group (phenol) and has two hydroxyphenyl groups (bi).  It is a colourless solid that is soluble in organic solvents but not in water.

What is the problem with it?  Well it exhibits hormone like properties and thus can alter a variety of metabolic processes in the body.  In particular, it acts like an estrogen.   Which means it moves in the blood to different parts of the body  and can thus have multiple effects.

Why doesn’t the FDA do anything about it?  Well, it is the same old story.  Apparently, since 2008 various governments have investigated the safety of FDA.  These reports have provoked some retailers to withdraw polycarbonate products.

In 2010, a US FDA report on BPAs, identified possible impacts on:

The National Center for Toxicological Reports has also performed various studies addressing similar issues and found similar results.

The Kaiser Pemante study published in PLOS ONE (Public Library of science) studied the connection between obesity and BPA levels in children in China.  They found that girls between the ages of 9-12, with high BPA levels in their urine, were twice as likely to be obese.  With even higher levels, i.e., more 10 micrograms/liter, the risk of obesity climbed to 5 times greater.  (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612173330.htm)

Studies with mice show that there are significant increases in the incidence of total disease/abnormalities in mice, including:

  • pubertal abnormalities
  • testis disease
  • obesity
  • ovarian disease (primary ovarian insufficiency and polycystic ovaries)
  • kidney disease
  • prostate disease
  • diabetes (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0069991)
  • The PLOS ONE study is the latest in a series of studies published by Dr. Li and his colleagues examining the effects of BPA in humans:

    • Fertility and Sterility (2013): showed that male workers exposed to BPA in a chemical plant for six months or more had lower testosterone levels in their blood than with those who were not exposed to BPA in workplace.
    • Journal of Reproductive Toxicology (2011): showed that parental exposure to BPA during pregnancy was associated with decreased birth weight in offspring.
    • Birth Defects Research (Part A — 2011): found that in-utero exposure to BPA was related to anogenital distance (the physical distance between the anus and the genitalia) in male offspring.
    • Journal of Andrology (2010): found that increasing BPA levels in urine were associated with worsening male sexual function.
    • Fertility and Sterility (2010): showed that increasing urine BPA levels were significantly associated with decreased sperm concentration, decreased total sperm count, decreased sperm vitality and decreased sperm motility.
    • Human Reproduction (2009): found that exposure to high levels of BPA in the workplace increased the risk of sexual dysfunction in men.
    • http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612173330.htm

Conclusions:  whether male or female; whether young or old; BPAs can have a dangerous impact on your health.

Why?  Because BPAs impact operate like hormones, and in particular, like an estrogen.  As such, it can impact/disrupts the endocrine system in the body changing/shaping metabolic processes.  “Girls in the midst of puberty may be more sensitive to the impacts of BPA on their energy balance and fat metabolism,” Dr. Li said (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612173330.htm) . “Puberty is the process of accelerated growth, what we commonly call a growth spurt,” he explained. In puberty, girls’ bodies produce more estrogen, triggering all kinds of transformations that rely on heightened metabolism. Add higher levels of BPA, and the body’s delicate chemical balance could become disrupted. “For whatever reason—we still don’t have all this worked out—you screw up your normal process, resulting in over-storage or over-absorption

[of fat], or it reduces metabolism.”

Another study of twins suggested that  environmental factors have a greater impact on girls’ weight than on boys’, which is more swayed by genetics.

Estrogen can stimulate glucokinase activity (which regulates carbohydrate metabolism), whereas the pervasive environmental pollutant bisphenol A (BPA) can inhibit estrogen action.  Studies show that both acute and chronic exposure to BPAs can significantly disrupt estrogen function and thereby impair hepatic glucokinase activity and function. When the estrogen functions are impaired, this can lead to a diabetic reaction and also cause obesity.  (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0069991)

We all know how much obesity has become a national/international issue.  We also know that there are a lot of factors that contribute to obesity and diabetes:

  • poor diet
  • high levels of sugar
  • low levels of exercise
  • metal toxicities
  • other toxicities
  • AGEs (Advanced Glycation Endproducts)
  • and now as well BPAs
Because of public outcry, the FDA banned the use of BPAs in baby bottles in 2012  – but it is still everywhere else. (http://www.fda.gov/%20newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm064437.htm)
So where do we find BPAs?
  • the lining of food cans
  • the lining of soda drink cans

So how do we avoid BPAs? Look for BPA-free labels or use only #1, #2, #4, #5 plastics for food and drinks.

By the way, various marketing studies estimate that with the current boom in BPAs, there will be a 50% increase in the use of them over the next 5 years!!! (http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/12/bpa-sales-increase)

Be responsible, do your research, find a good health practitioner.

Here’s to your health!

For more information, contact: Dr Holly at holly@choicesunlimited.ca

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